Five things for pharma marketers to know: Tuesday, April 28

Merck said Januvia is not linked to higher heart-failure risk
Merck said Januvia is not linked to higher heart-failure risk

Merck's diabetes medication Januvia (sitagliptin) is not associated with an increased risk for heart-failure hospitalization, according to data from the drugmaker's four-year clinical trial known as Tecos. The Tecos trial was considered a bellwether for the drug class's perceived safety; heart-failure risks prompted an FDA panel to recommend a new label for AstraZeneca's DPP-IV inhibitor Onglyza (saxagliptin). Analysts noted at the time that more DPP-IVs work like Merck's Januvia than they do Onglyza.

Biogen will spend $2.5 billion before it knows if its experimental Alzheimer's disease medication, BIIB037, works, reported Bloomberg. Biogen CEO George Scangos said the total includes the cost of clinical trials and building a drug manufacturing plant. He explained that the plant needs to be built before the company will be able to assess the drug's viability.

Takeda will pay more than $2.3 billion to settle 8,000 lawsuits over its Actos diabetes medication. Individual settlements will be around $287,000, reported Bloomberg, which noted that Takeda can withdraw from the deal if fewer than 95% of the cases agree with the proposed settlement. The lawsuits alleged that Takeda ignored the drug was associated with bladder cancer.

Mylan rejected Teva's $40-billion takeover proposal, citing a mix of business and personal conflicts. Mylan Executive Chairman Robert Coury wrote that Teva's high rate of executive turnover indicates the company is poorly managed, the offer is too low and antitrust concerns would probably kill the deal, reported The New York Times. Coury also said Teva's decision to declare its acquisition plans before speaking with him was poor judgment, The Wall Street Journal wrote.

President Barack Obama said Medicare should be allowed to negotiate drug prices, a recommendation that would mean upending laws that prevent Medicare from doing so, reported The New York Times. The request is tucked into the president's budget proposal, which also includes allocating an additional $215 million for his precision medicine initiative.